UNC norovirus outbreak starts to decline

Health officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are remaining cautious as an outbreak of norovirus that affected more than 90 students begins to slow down.

Norovirus typically lasts 24 to 48 hours and causes symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Mary Covington, the executive director of campus health services, said that there is no single treatment for the virus and medications are given based on the symptoms patients are showing, the Daily Tar Heel reports.

"If people are throwing up, you give them medication that will make them less nauseous and less likely to throw up," Covington said, according to the Daily Tar Heel. "If people are dehydrated, then you would need to give fluids."

Campus health services worked closely with the Orange County Health Department to identify the norovirus responsible for student symptoms. The health department is working with the university and the N.C. Division of Public Health to determine the source of the outbreak.

Since the outbreak, the dining halls have undergone two major cleanings and the housing department purchased chlorine-based chemicals for housekeeping to clean bathrooms where students were affected.

The outbreak seems to have subsided now that the health department is seeing fewer norovirus-related cases. Covington said the prevention of further cases is ongoing, the Daily Tar Heel reports.

"What we're doing is monitoring the situation closely, because sometimes you have secondary peaks," Covington said, according to the Daily Tar Heel.